Citibank Review: Checking, Savings, & CD Rates

Banking
Updated: 29th Sep 2021
Written by Jordan Blansit
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June 17, 2021
Written by Jordan Blansit

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Citibank is the fourth-largest commercial bank in the United States – emphasis on commercial.

The bank offers a wide array of accounts, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, and premium high-yield accounts.

However, the bank makes account setup complicated (for instance, to open a savings account, you must open an eligible banking account to go with it).

Not to mention, if you don’t meet your account minimums, or if you incur overdraft charges, Citi charges high fees off the top.

Citibank Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Solid interest rates (in some areas)
  • Reward points and miles available on some accounts
  • Plenty of ways to dodge fees
  • Accounts service a variety of customer needs
  • Excellent customer service and online banking portal

Cons:

  • Complex account packages
  • A large number of fees
  • No standalone savings accounts
  • Complicated ThankYou Points system
  • Low CD rates compared to digital-only banks
  • Not all accounts available in every state

What is Citibank?

Citibank (Citi for short) is one of the largest full-service banks in the United States. The longstanding financial institution operates from both online and brick-and-mortar locations (though some services are only available online).

The bank provides a full range of services including checking and savings accounts, retirement and wealth management services, and mortgage lending.

That said, Citi is most well-known for their credit cards, high-yield savings products, hefty new account bonuses…and their complicated setup.

What Does a Citibank Account Package Include?

Citibank has an unusual account structure: in order to open the highest-yield accounts, you’ll need another account with it.

Rates, fees, perks, and basic services vary depending on your location – and not all packages are available everywhere.

However, this complicated setup means that it’s hard to know exactly what you’re signing up for with Citibank. That’s why we’re here to help you out.

>> More: Best Online Banks

Citibank Checking Accounts

Citibank offers two categories of checking accounts, which then branch into different individual checking accounts.

You can choose between everyday banking accounts – standard accounts with basic to just-above-basic services – and premium accounts, which are mostly aimed at high-net-worth individuals.

Let’s break these down in depth.

Everyday Banking Checking Accounts

Basic Banking Package

  • Monthly Service Fee: $12
  • Minimum Deposit: $5,000
  • Fee Waiver: First listed account owner is 62+ years of age, maintain $1,500 combined average in linked accounts, or one qualifying bill payment and one direct deposit per statement period.

Citi Basic Banking is Citibank’s standard, no-frills package.

It comes with unlimited check writing and two ways to avoid overdraft fees: Safety Check, which links your checking and savings accounts ($10 fee for each overdraft transfer) or Checking Plus variable-interest credit line ($10 per day for covered overdrafts).

Access Account Package

  • Monthly Service Fee: $10
  • Fee Waiver: Make one qualifying bill payment or direct deposit per statement period, or maintain a $1,500 average in eligible accounts

Citi Account Access is the package with the lowest monthly fees thanks to its online-only setup.

It comes with no paper checks and the ability to avoid approving transactions that would otherwise incur overdraft fees.

The Citibank® Account Package

  • Monthly Service Fee: $25
  • Fee Waiver: Maintain a monthly balance of $10,000+ in eligible linked accounts
  • APY: 0.01%

The Citibank Account is a comprehensive checking account that comes with check writing, no ATM fees even at non-Citi ATMs, and the ability to earn up to 75,000 Citi ThankYou Points.

But if you want those points, you’ll need to use both bill payment services and make one direct deposit each statement period.

Citi Elevate

  • Monthly Service Fee: $15
  • Minimum Balance: Maintain an average balance of $5,000
  • APY: 0.20% – 0.60%

Citi Elevate is another digital-only banking package, but this one is limited to set ZIP codes.

It also requires a higher monthly balance to avoid fees.

But if you’re looking for a basic, no-frills account to combine with Citi Accelerate Savings – not to mention earn a higher savings rate – this checking account might be your best bet.

>> More: Best Bank Accounts

Premium Banking Checking Accounts

Citi Priority Account Package

  • Monthly Service Fee: $30
  • Minimum Balance: Maintain an average monthly balance of $50,000+ in eligible accounts
  • APY: 0.03%

Citi Priority is for higher net-worth individuals who can maintain the monthly minimums and want professional advice from Citi Personal Wealth Management Priority Advisors.

Advisory services available over the phone or in-branch. It also comes with more Citi ThankYou Points than standard checking accounts and no fees on non-Citi ATMs.

Citigold® Account Package

  • Monthly Service Fee: $0
  • Minimum Balance: Maintain a combined average monthly balance of $200,000+ in eligible linked accounts
  • APY: 0.03%

Citigold is for those clients who can maintain enormous monthly balances – and especially those who travel frequently.

This package comes with a team of relationship managers and financial advisors and a whole host of benefits, including:

  • Reduced or waived fees across the board
  • Foreign currency delivery
  • Emergency cash access
  • Concierge services

Citigold also comes with discounts at cultural institutions worldwide and admission to global Citigold Lounges.

Citigold® International

  • Monthly Service Fee: $100
  • Minimum Balance: Maintain an average daily relationship of $200,000+
  • APY: 0.01% for deposit accounts in U.S. dollars

Citigold International is for travelers who often find themselves in exotic lands. You’ll have access to up to $5,000 per day in ATM withdrawals, a team of multilingual financial advisors and portfolio reviews, and waived or reduced fees.

Citigold® Private Client

  • Monthly Service Fee: $125
  • Minimum Balance: Maintain $1 million+ in combined relationship accounts
  • APY: 0.03%

Citigold Private Client is Citibank’s most exclusive, readily available checking account.

In addition to the ability to withdraw up to $5,000 per day from ATMs, it comes with access to investment counselors, free outgoing online wire transfers, and exclusive Citi-hosted events.

>> More: The Best Checking Accounts

Citibank Savings Accounts

Citi offers three savings accounts: Savings, Accelerate, and Miles Ahead.

Citi Savings

  • APY: 0.04% to 0.13% depending on your balance and banking package
  • Minimum Balance: $500 to avoid monthly fees; otherwise, $0
  • Monthly Service Fee: $4.50
  • Fee Waiver: Average daily balance of $500 or more required

Citi Savings is the standard savings account offered by Citibank, available on all packages except Citi Elevate and Citi Miles Ahead.

This account comes with a variable APY, no minimum deposit, and the potential to earn Citi ThankYou rewards.

You can also write checks from the account.

Citi Accelerate Savings

  • APY: Up to 0.50% depending on your state of residence
  • Minimum Balance: $500 to avoid monthly fees; otherwise, $0
  • Monthly Service Fee: $4.50
  • Fee Waiver: Average daily balance of $500 or more required

Citi Accelerate is Citi’s high-yield savings account. It varies from other high-yield accounts in that you’re required to open a banking package as well.

Moreover, not all ZIP codes qualify for an Accelerate package – if you don’t, you’ll have to stick with the regular, old savings account instead.

To get started, you can call Citi, use the Citi mobile app, or apply online.

Once you’re set up, you can transfer money in and out, automate recurring transfers, and earn ThankYou Points (if linked to an eligible account).

Citi Miles Ahead

Citi Miles Ahead is a savings-only account available to Citi/AAdvantage credit card holders.

The account comes with no fees (and thus no fee waiver) and no interest earned – plus, you can earn up to 25% more AAdvantage miles on your transactions.

However, there are several catches:

  • The program is invite-only
  • Invitations only go out to certain residential location (and not all Citi/AAdvantage credit cardholders will receive an invitation)
  • If you’re already a Citibank customer, you must make a new deposit into the Citi Miles Ahead account (you can’t convert your package)
  • You must maintain a $10,000 minimum deposit

>> More: The Best High Yield Savings Accounts

Citibank CD Rates

TermAPY
3 Months:0.25%
4 Months:0.10%
5 Months:0.5%
6-11 Months:0.05%
1 Year:0.10%
13 - 15 Months:0.10%
2, 3 and 4 Years:0.10%
5 Year:0.15%

Citibank offers three types of certificate of deposits with 3-month to 5-year terms.

As a brick-and-mortar bank, Citi’s CD rates are lower than online-based alternatives, but accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Fixed-Rate CD

Citi’s fixed-rate CDs come with a guaranteed interest rate for the term and automatic renewal upon maturity.

At that time, you have seven calendar days to change your term or withdraw any funds.

Otherwise, you may be subject to up to 180 days of simple interest for cashing in before maturity.

No Penalty CD

Like the fixed-rate CD, Citi’s No Penalty CDs provide a guaranteed interest rate for the 12-month term.

The difference is that you can withdraw your balance – and any accrued interest – penalty-free starting 6 days into your term.

Currently, the minimum opening balance is $500 at 0.15% APY.

Step-Up CD

Citibank’s Step-Up CD comes with a 30-month term length and three automatic rate increases every 10 months.

The minimum opening deposit is $500. Currently, the rate starts at 0.10% APY.

Citibank Review: Fees, Customer Support, & Banking Experience

Banking Experience

Banking with Citi is anything but straightforward, at least at first.

In addition to “linking” accounts to maintain minimum balances and dodge fees, Citi also encourages “relationship banking” to open multiple types of accounts.

That said, aside from checking and savings accounts, Citi offers a wide variety of products to complement their services, such as:

  • Car loans, mortgages, and small business loans
  • Personal loans and lines of credit
  • Retirement accounts
  • Investments services

Moreover, Citibank customers can access over 65,000 fee-free ATMs, while some types of accounts waive fees entirely.

And even if you don’t have a Citi account, you can use their mobile banking app to collect, analyze, and view financial data.

Customer Support

Citi has a high rating for customer satisfaction overall, thanks in part to their digital advisory and guidance.

They offer customer service online or via the app, as well as by phone or brick-and-mortar branch.

Additionally, customer support is available 24/7.

Overdraft Fees & Other Citibank Fees

Citibank, like many other commercial banks, piles on the fees where they can.

Aside from basic account management fees ranging from $10 to $125 per month, they also charge overdraft fees ($34 per fee up to four times per day) and ATM fees.

That said, they provide a number of ways to avoid fees, as well, including by linking eligible accounts, maintaining minimum balances, or opting into other paid services.

How Does Citibank Compare to Other Banks?

#1. Chime Bank vs. Citibank

Chime is a neobank, or online-only bank, serviced by The Bancorp Bank and Central National Bank.

Chime comes with no monthly maintenance fees, no credit check, automatics savings tools, and 38,000 fee-free ATMs (though with no fee reimbursement on the rest).

There is also no overdraft fee – because Chime won’t clear a transaction if you don’t have the funds.

>> More: Chime Bank Review

#2. Citibank vs. Chase Bank

Chase Bank’s banking offerings trend lower than Citibank’s, with its top savings account paying much lower APY than Citi’s basic accounts.

That said, Chase Ultimate Rewards are top-of-the-line in the banking rewards industry in terms of benefits and transfer partners, and Chase is well-known as a credit card guru.

But if you’re just interested in banking, Citibank may have Chase beat, as Chase requires a $1,500 monthly balance or $500 direct deposit to waive account fees.

>> More: Chase Bank Review

#3. Citibank vs. Bank of America

Bank of America, like Citibank, is another global institution with a wide reach.

For the most part, they’re full of similarities: Bank of America offers many of the same services, same low yields on most accounts, and high fees requiring fancy footwork to dodge.

That said, Bank of America comes with one important difference from the customer’s perspective: the Core Checking account requires a $1,500 monthly balance or at least $250 in direct deposits to sidestep the $12 monthly fee.

>> More: Bank of America Review

#4. Wells Fargo vs. Citibank

Compared to Citibank, Wells Fargo offers lower APY and a higher minimum deposit on checking and savings accounts, as well as CDs.

However, Wells Fargo also has more ATMs and brick-and-mortar branches, as well as lower daily overdraft fee totals.

Wells Fargo also has Citibank beaten in the number of credit-ruining scandals in recent years, but that’s a story for another time.

>> More: Wells Fargo Review

Citibank Review FAQs

Is Citibank FDIC Insured?

Yes! Citi deposit accounts are insured to the standard $250,000 per account.

Is Citibank a Good Bank?

Citibank is a good bank if you don’t mind navigating the world of complex accounts to avoid paying fees and earning the best interest rates. That said, their customer service is top-notch, and they have a well-designed website and mobile app to make banking with them simpler in light of their complicated setup.

Is Citibank Better than Chase?

You’ll earn higher interest rates with Citibank – plus, you have to clear a lower hurdle to waive monthly fees. But if your focus is on the best credit cards with a top-notch rewards system, Chase is a better bet.

Is My Money Safe in Citibank?

Citibank offers FDIC insurance on all deposit accounts, which means your money is safe from fraud, theft, and other unsavory activities.

Bottom Line: Citibank Review

Citibank offers high-yield savings accounts and a variety of banking packages to suit most, if not every, need.

Plus, with an extensive range of banking products, you can manage your money, start investing, and buy a car within the same institution.

That said, Citibank’s CD rates aren’t competitive in an increasingly digital market.

And while they offer several types of accounts, their services are unnecessarily convoluted and require taking advantage of multiple kinds of accounts to dodge fees and maximize your ThankYou Points.

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Jordan Blansit
Jordan Blansit
Jordan is a freelance writer with an inexplicable predilection for investing and personal finance. When she’s not click-clacketing from the comfort of her living room, you can find her (or not) craftily avoiding human contact in the California redwoods or Oregon Siskiyous with her black cat, Bean.